Friday, September 07, 2007

First Fight In Penang.

From Sekolah Kebangsaan Laki-Laki Dungun I go to Dungun English School where they put me in Remove Class D. But you don't say Dungun English School. Every one calls it DESS. It sounds better and what could be more high class than that since every one knows only in DESS can you find the Chinese and one or two Indian students talking among themselves in English. And the Malay students too. They can speak English better than the white folks. As a matter of fact they speak very well that even the white folks don't usually understand what in the world they could be talking about. I see this at Leong Thye shop. The only store in Dungun where mems orang putih show up in a group of four or five, all in their summer dresses and straw hats to buy groceries on account of Leong Thye being the only store in Dungun who stocks up his entire shop with canned food and bottled stuff imported from England. As a matter of fact it is the only store in Dungun where you can buy red juicy apples for 5o sen. I buy these more than once just to feel like one of them white folks and I go around with the apple in my hand to show it off among the poor children who have probably never eaten an apple in their entire life. And they'd go, 'Sedak dok epal tu?' Stupid urchins, 'Sedak ahh bodoh tongong.' I can afford apples because Aunt makes a lot of money selling kain batik, songket, silverware, gold, nissang pulut and nekbat.
We have a lot of white folks in Dungun. Mostly Australians. They give orders to local folks who work in the iron mine in Bukit Besi. I don't know what they do but they look rich and well fed. At Leong Thye shop the mems orang putih would talk in singsong kinda voice calling out to their children 'Here Tommy, come here Tommy.' They live in a gated community where you can see from the opening of the wooden fence, houses bigger than the D.O's residence.
We've got a lot of white folks but we don't have enough Indians for a sepak takraw team. In fact the only Indian in Dungun who is not Muslim is the Miranda family. They live in a cluster of houses on a hill over looking Padang Astaka. I don't know what they do but they look kinda rich. And they speak a lot of English. But I don't understand a word they're saying because they don't sound like Clint Eastwood.
In Penang I see the first Sikh boy. He's got some kinda snail on top of his head that looks pretty neat and I'm wondering what this is. And so I ask him, what's that on your head, awang siput? He turns around and say, what did you just call me? I say, I just called you awang siput. All of a sudden he is all over me, wild punches coming in like rain. I jump him in the chest with random punches and now we are locked in, shoving and pushing. He got me in the rib. I got pretty pissed that I go after him like a ram in a fight over a she-goat. I got his snail and yank it hard. It comes off in a long string of hair. All of a sudden he goes limp and starts to cry.
Next day Mr Koh the discipline teacher caned me in public. That's how Siva and Yusof came over and say, 'Hang baguih larr. Hang mai dari Terangganu kan?' I'm thinking, maybe these two want a fight because of what I did to awang siput. And so I say, 'Mung nok ggochoh?'
(Words in Malay and Terangganuspeak are left untranslated on purpose.)


Blogger Zabs said...

Salam Bergen,
Is that also your first public caning? saya dulu masuk Special Malay Class dari darjag 4.
Tentang budak awang siput tu, even my 11-year old daughter laugh at the story.

7:09 PM  
Blogger mad.redo1 said...

awang sipuk, mende gok atah palle mung tu...

ggochoh slalu pahtu... guling bating atah padang...

still waiting for more...

8:09 PM  
Blogger tokasid said...

Salam Bergen:

Awang siput! Wow , thats neat.
We kids in taiping used to tease our Sikh friens like this: Kici kici main hoki, suda busar main ragbi.

Ambo ddak sabo nunggu mung sambong....

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Ibu said...

Siva and Usop dok perati, buak 'tae-leng' spotting !! Hehehe...

10:48 PM  
Blogger Nak Tak Nak said...

I happened to have many Sikh friends. The konde as we called it is something sacred to them no wonder he got offended. So that was how you got your first public caning?

Were you in Jelutong Secondary School? No I wasn't a student there but that school still has a reputation for indiscipline.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Bergen
Never seen a public caning in my entire school life. I guess its because I was in an all-girls school and that caning, in public or in the headmaster's room, not a method used to discipline us.
But we hear stories though about it from friends at other schools.

8:20 AM  
Blogger cakapaje said...

Salam Bergen, my first time here.

Lor...and I was thinking "who the heck is awang siput?", until I read tokasid's comment.

Use to have several Sikh friends whom we call 'dut'; some accept it well, some don't. The ones who did, became really good friends.

10:31 AM  
Blogger NURAINA A SAMAD said...


public caning, eh? do we see that anymore?

The first Trengganu person I had ever known was a lady called "Mak Ngah".
She might be familiar to some people in KL and PJ because she sold kain batik and songket, and later keropok, to Klang Valley denizens.

I just knew her as Mak Ngah. When people asked, Mak Ngah mana, we said Mak Ngah Terengganu.

I was then a little girl. My mom and her family knew Mak Ngah since the Singapore days. You know, there were many terengganu families in Singapore.

Anyway Mak Ngah used to tease me that my mom almost gave me to her.
Yeah.... sort of true. When my mom was expecting me, Mak Ngah asked her whether she would give the baby if it was a girl because my mom had four girls already. My mom jokingly agreed. So when I was born, Mak Ngah "tuntut" me... my mother had to slow-talk, soft-talk or whatever talk Mak Ngah....
Hah,,,kalau tidak saya dah jadi anak Mak Ngah.

My dear sweet Mak Ngah, who would make her appearance and stayed with us everytime she was in town, died some 20 years ago in Terengganu.
She used to keep her stock of batik and songket in one of the rooms in our house.
I sempat send her around to her clients' homes later in my life, first in my mom's car and later, in my own.
(sorry, bergen for taking up so much space.)

3:20 PM  
Blogger The Ancient Mariner said...

Your hilarious anecdote (is there a book coming) is like a breath of fresh air in a roomful of farts.

Thank you. Keep em coming.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Restless said...

Awang siput. I just call them Bai.

2:31 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Zabs: That was my first public caning in Penang. LOL. Special Malay Class is like Remove Class, right?

Mat.Redo1: In Dungun kalu nok ggochoh gi ppata Teluk Lipak.

Tokasid: Yes, some call it Doot. We don't have Sikh in Dungun. In Bahasa Malaysia book ada gambar Sikh, you know, the three friends who do things together, Ali, Ramasamy dan Tong Seng. But we don't have Harjeet Singh or something and so when I saw the like of him in Penang I thought the siput looked groovy. LOL. Groovy is for cool for those of you not old enough to know.

Ibu: You're right. Depa dok perati, or ushar-ushar mai tengok.

Nak Tak Nak: Yes, that was the first of the many public canings I would receive during a year there.

Fauziah Ismail: The public caning works both ways. It could scare the living daylight out of the poor guy, or as in my case, it emboldened me further since officially, you are now the tough, fearless kid with nothing to lose, or the parents to report to.

Cakapaje: Hey, thank you for visiting. Always nice to have a nice visitor dropping by. Good to have you here, mate!

Nurai A Samad: Otherwise I'd be speaking to you in Terenganu dialect and you'd very much at home, just like Elviza. LOL. So you were THAT close to being orang Pantai Timur. LOL. Oh well, maybe next time.

The Ancient Mariner: LOL, only maritime people can describe me that way. LOL. NO wait, big LOL.

Restless: I don't see them wearing it anymore these days.

To everyone who dropped by this way, hey, thank you.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous elviza said...

Samseng awak ni Bergen...

By the way,this is entirely your fault, I can't think about nothing else but a NEKBAT SIRRA right now! Argggghhh, give me a plateful of those please....

11:42 AM  
Anonymous elviza said...

Samseng awak ni Bergen...

By the way,this is entirely your fault, I can't think about nothing else but a NEKBAT SIRRA right now! Argggghhh, give me a plateful of those please....

11:42 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Elviza: Yes, those are lovely to have for buka puasa. LOL. Tapi kena pandai buat, otherwise the smell of telur itik can put you off. Aunt's monopolized the nekbat market in Dungung in the 60s and 70s.

12:06 PM  
Blogger dee3 said...

hilarious :) :D

1:14 PM  
Blogger Serenity said...

I use to stay in one of those English wooden bungalow in Dungun facing the South China Sea & besides the Bukit Besi. Some of the furniture & appliances were still in the bungalow like the fat dish washer & fridge. I always wonder on the architecture of the house & it has a nice horse stable. That's a profound thought.

11:24 AM  
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